Special teams (5 out of 5)
Edelman returned a punt for a 68-yard touchdown (thanks to a poor 3.9-second hang time) and another return went for 49 yards with some terrific blocking from Talib, Niko Koutouvides, and Tracy White. McCourty had a 29-yard kickoff return. Zoltan Mesko had two outstanding punts. Stephen Gostkowski (missed 31-yard field goal) and the kickoff unit held the Colts to a 14.9-yard average on seven kicks hung high on purpose. What else could you want? Take a bow, Scotty O’Brien.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Situation: The Colts, who had gone right through the Patriots on their first two scoring drives, ran for 9 yards on first down and then faced second and 1 at their 31-yard line with the score tied, 14-14, and 11:17 left in the second quarter.
What happened: The Patriots had linebackers Brandon Spikes (55) and Dont’a Hightower (54) crowding the line. The Patriots only blitzed Spikes between the center and left guard, to free up Vince Wilfork (75) and end Jermaine Cunningham (96) on single blocks. Both Colts running backs picked up Cunningham, leaving Wilfork to beat right tackle Winston Justice. After quarterback Andrew Luck (12) took a deep drop off a play-action fake, Wilfork’s presence made Luck throw off-balance and high. The Patriots had both corners and safety Devin McCourty deep in Cover 3, and Aqib Talib (31) easily picked off the ball. He took it back 59 yards, getting a great block from Steve Gregory, for a score that gave the Patriots their first lead, one they would not relinquish.
ON HIS GAME
Julian Edelman, receiver/punt returner
Caught five passes for 58 yards and a touchdown, scored another TD on a 68-yard punt return, set up two more scores with a 49-yard return and 47-yard rush, forced a fumble on special teams, and threw the key block on the final touchdown. I’m tired typing that.
OFF HIS GAME
Kyle Love, defensive tackle
Registered one assisted tackle in 35 snaps and was easily shoved out of his gap on two big runs. Basically a total nonfactor, which is not typical.